NORMAN — Edgar V. “Judge” Springer Jr., 85, of Norman, died Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Dallas. A private family service was hosted followed by his cremation. “Judge” Springer was born Sept. 24, 1928, in Shawnee, and received his nickname “Judge” from the delivering physician, who declared him to be “sober as a judge” at birth.
He moved to Norman with his parents, Edgar V. and Mabel Springer, in 1930, where he attended Lincoln Elementary School. He attended Norman High School and graduated in 1946, enrolling in the University of Oklahoma that fall. After overcoming a severe case of influenza that caused him to miss several weeks of his freshman year, Judge dropped out of school and traveled to California, where he worked for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1948. He saw combat during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1952.
He re-entered the University of Oklahoma on the G.I. bill, majoring in theater arts. It was as a theater major that Judge met his wife, Marilyn Harris Springer, who became an award-winning Oklahoma novelist and Oklahoma Hall of Fame honoree. Judge appeared in 44 theatrical productions at OU and received the Van Heflin Award for his distinguished work. He also worked as an announcer and program director for radio station WNAD, for which he wrote more than 80 radio scripts for a program on Oklahoma history and produced a weekly 90-minute news show.
Following his graduation from OU in 1957, Judge enrolled at Boston University, where he completed his MFA in theater. As a professional actor, “Judge” Springer performed at such venues as the Cambridge Drama Festival, the Charles Playhouse and the Poet’s Theater in Boston and the Provincetown Playhouse for summer stock. He also accepted a teaching position at the University of New Hampshire in Keene, N.H.
“Judge” Springer returned with his family to Norman in 1960, where he became a founding member of the Mummers, the first professional acting company in Oklahoma City. Between 1963 and 1967, he appeared in 27 Mummers productions. After a one-year teaching appointment at OU, “Judge” Springer accepted a position in the speech and drama department at Central State University, where he taught until his retirement.